In Memoriam: Saleem Qureshi

In memoriam

The University of Alberta mourns the loss of Saleem Qureshi, Professor Emeritus, Department of Political Science, and former Associate Dean, Faculty of Arts, and former Chair of East Asian Languages and Literature.

February 14, 1931 — October 10, 2016

Dr. Saleem Qureshi

Saleem Qureshi, beloved husband, father, grandfather, teacher, mentor, traveller, poetry-lover and gardener, passed away peacefully in hospital surrounded by family and friends. His body gave up, while his mind remained as present and as sharp, and his heart as warm as ever.

He will be dearly missed by wife Regula, children Sabina and Adil, grandsons Sharif and Pau, and family around the world, as well as by his many friends, colleagues and students.

Dr. Qureshi lived a full and engaged life, which began in colonial India in the city of Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh. Driven and intelligent, he did his undergraduate studies at Agra University, followed by a law degree and graduate studies in political science, both at Lucknow University.

India was in turmoil with the end of the Raj, and he sought his fortunes in the newly established country of Pakistan. In Karachi, he found a second family, and a position at the American Institute of Public and Business Administration, which sent him to the USA to do an MA at the University of Pennsylvania. Showing promise, and encouraged, he was funded to complete his PhD instead. At this time, he met Regula Burckhardt, who was studying cello at the Curtis Institute.

They married in 1959, and Sabina was born soon after. His first year in Canada was spent teaching at McGill and researching at the Institute of Islamic Studies. Following a year as an assistant professor at the University of Saskatchewan, where Adil was born, he joined the University of Alberta in 1963. Over the decades, he became something of an icon in the Political Science Department. During his tenure, he served as Associate Dean of Arts and also Chair of East Asian Languages and Literature. After his retirement, he continued teaching courses in Islamic and Middle Eastern politics.

Throughout his time in Edmonton, he enjoyed Alberta, hiking, camping and skiing. He also explored the world, travelling extensively. He was active in the Liberal Party and in the South Asian community, and was frequently interviewed by local and national media to help make sense of events in the Middle East. His abiding love was for his family, especially his grandchildren.

His family would like to express their thanks for the many messages of condolence.

A Memorial will be held on Saturday, November 19, at 2:00 p.m. at Convocation Hall, University of Alberta.

In lieu of flowers, donations suggested to Syrian refugees, World Wildlife Fund, or Amnesty International.

Originally published in The Edmonton Journal on Nov. 5, 2016The Edmonton Journal on Nov. 5, 2016